Australia · Opinion · World

Abortion: the tide is turning

A bit more than a month ago, Ireland voted in a referendum to repeal an abortion ban in that country. With that abortion will be legal soon in Ireland. However, it seems that in more and more countries where abortion has been legal for quite a while, people start realising what abortion really is, and are having second thoughts about it.

In the United States, the Supreme Court is, bit by bit, allowing laws and other measures by states and the federal government which restrict access to abortion, while the president and vice-president of the USA have given clear indications that they are either opposed to abortion or support the fight to restrict abortion. Recently, also opinion makers are starting to pay attention to what is going on. They can no longer ignore the annual March for Life, since first vice-president Mr. Mike Pence and a year later president Mr. Donald Trump openly addressed the participants in the March for Life in Washington.

In 2016, the National Review ran an article, written by Frederica Matthewes-Green, who a generation ago supported the Roe-vs-Wade decision of the Supreme Court which legalised abortion, but now has turned against it. Frederica Mathewes-Green has written for National Review, the Washington Post, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times, First Things, Books & Culture, Sojourners, Touchstone, and the Wall Street Journal. She is not just one of the many, but she has influence as opinion maker. She wrote in her article:

I changed my opinion on abortion after I read an article in Esquire magazine, way back in 1976. I was home from grad school, flipping through my dad’s copy, and came across an article titled “What I Saw at the Abortion.” The author, Richard Selzer, was a surgeon, and he was in favor of abortion, but he’d never seen one. So he asked a colleague whether, next time, he could go along.

After injecting the hormone into the patient’s womb, the doctor left the syringe standing upright on her belly. Then, Selzer wrote, “I see something other than what I expected here. . . . It is the hub of the needle that is in the woman’s belly that has jerked. First to one side. Then to the other side. Once more it wobbles, is tugged, like a fishing line nibbled by a sunfish.”

He realized he was seeing the fetus’s desperate fight for life. And as he watched, he saw the movement of the syringe slow down and then stop. The child was dead. Whatever else an unborn child does not have, he has one thing: a will to live. He will fight to defend his life.

The last words in Selzer’s essay are, “Whatever else is said in abortion’s defense, the vision of that other defense [i.e., of the child defending its life] will not vanish from my eyes. And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?”


A month ago, in Western Australia, the WAToday prominently published an article about WA upper house MP Nick Goiran, who recently presented the biggest petition submitted to the WA parliament in 2017. In this petition, the attention of parliament is drawn to the deaths of 27 babies born alive in Western Australia and ‘left to die’ with no medical treatment after abortion procedures.

Abortions are allowed in Western Australia since 1998, but after 20 weeks gestation only if the mother or the unborn child have a severe medical condition.

So far there has not been any investigation into this criminal practice. It has been largely ignored. Now that is changing. By the action of Mr. Goiran and others, the world is being confronted with what is going on and what abortion actually is.

We can try hard to change the laws about abortion, but it doesn’t help if the public opinion doesn’t change. It is important that people start realise that abortion is not just the removal of a few cells that are unwanted, but it is the killing of life, and not just the life of a stranger, but of our own children.

Frederica Matthewes-Green describes how abortion is promoted as the solution to all problems for women who have an unwanted pregnancy. That was how it was seen by the feminist movement in the seventies, in the time that infamous Roe-vs-Wade decision was made by the Supreme Court. Now, a generation later, more and more people start seeing abortion for what it really is. And they don’t like it.

On the island Guam, recently the last abortionist retired and now the island is abortion free. After his retirement, his clinic was taken over and the new owner refuses to commit abortions. Abortion is still legal in Guam, which is a territory of the USA. However, there is nobody willing on the island of Guam, to commit abortions any longer. The article which reports this news, also writes: This seems to be in line with what abortionists in the United States have reported; they have complained that they “get no respect,” especially from the medical community, who look down on them as the “lowest of the low.” Medical students are frequently choosing to deliberately avoid abortion training, and medical students who do opt to get training in how to commit abortions are reportedly shunned.

This show that influencing the opinion all starts with speaking the truth. The media have an important function. By the way they write and talk about matters like abortion and euthanasia, they can change the opinion of the people, and the politicians who make the laws, very much depend on the opinion of the people. They want to be elected and re-elected.

As Christians, we must work hard, to get skilled opinion makers, journalists, leaders, who dare to speak the truth, but who can also do it in a wise way, so that they will be listened to by the people. It is easy to be an activist and stand on the streets with signs, protesting. It is much harder, but much more important to be an opinion leader, who is able to influence the way of thinking of the people.